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Guy Fieri Got Fit and Lost 30 Pounds—Here's How

Guy Fieri told me six ways that he lost weight, got fit, and reinvented himself.

Guy Fieri Got Fit and Lost 30 Pounds—Here's How
Fieri rucking with his dogs.

Post Summary

  • Guy Fieri recently got fit, lost 30 pounds, and reinvented himself.
  • I spent time with Fieri to learn how he did it for Men's Health magazine.
  • Fieri's approach was sensible—and wicked effective. It felt like a sane breath of fresh air in a world of hyper-complicated health routines.
  • We'll cover his six most potent methods.

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Podcast Version

The post

I don't write many magazine stories anymore, even though I started my career as a writer for magazines.

But when my editor at Men's Health recently emailed and asked if I wanted to profile Guy Fieri, I said yes.

My wife and I have spent a lot of time with Fieri on our television. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is a staple when we want something light and entertaining.

We also recently got hooked on Fieri's newer Tournament of Champions show. (Imagine the NCAA March Madness tournament, but with the world's best chefs competing in a giant bracket).

If you don't know who Guy Fieri is ... hello and welcome back to earth. What was the abduction like, and how was living in the alien ship for the last 20 years? (Also, he's a celebrity chef with 20+ shows on the Food Network and 80+ restaurants worldwide ... the guy with the bleached hair.)

You might wonder why Men's Health wanted me to write a profile of Guy Fieri.

The answer is simple: Since 2020, Fieri has lost more than 30 pounds. He's exercising five days a week in interesting ways and healthier overall.

So I cruised to California's Wine Country to spend a day with Fieri on his 40-acre ranch.

We hung out. He cooked. He trained. We rucked. He ran me through his recovery practice and daily routine.

But he says none of it feels like change. And, in truth, his life hasn’t changed that much.

Fieri is still very much Guy Fieri. He rolls out to incredible local restaurants and samples their best food on camera. He's a fixture at big social events. He occasionally sips Santo tequila, a brand he owns, and smokes his custom line of cigars. He's living—just healthier.

In a world where health prescriptions usually come from waify organic wellness types, carb-phobic gym types, or health gurus with 27-hour podcasts covering 28-step morning protocols, Fieri might just be the (totally unexpected) voice of reason we all need.

"I think moderation is a real thing," he told me.

Here are six ways he found it—and how you can, too.

1) Find healthy but delicious substitutes

  • Section summary: Finding ways to reduce the calories in your favorite dishes can help you stick to an eating plan.

Fieri started cooking when I arrived.

Wood in a Santa Maria grill was kicking up flames. A bulbous brick oven was at full tilt. And Fieri, knife in hand, was chopping up all kinds of ingredients for an epic salad.

He paired it with a spaghetti bolognese. But not like the kind your mom or grandmother made.

The Bolognese was prepared with lean turkey rather than 80/20 beef. And he'd swapped traditional pasta for shredded spaghetti squash.

Fieri told me, “I would have loved to have had that Bolognese with bucatini. But if I have spaghetti squash instead, I know that’s 500 calories I’m not consuming. And it’s still delicious. Do that six days in a row? That’s powerful. That’s 3,000 calories.”

Research reviews from the Boden Institute shows that finding healthier substitutes for the foods you already eat and enjoy further improves the odds of sticking to a diet. It works because it aligns healthy eating with your current habits.

A few common food swaps that maintain flavor but reduce calories:

  • Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Cauliflower rice instead of white rice. (You can now buy this pre-made and frozen at Costco, the mecca of affordable healthy food).
  • Lettuce wraps instead of tortillas.
  • Air-popped popcorn instead of chips.
  • Air-fried potatoes instead of deep fried french fries.
  • Leaner meats. It seems like a no-brainer, but people often forget that 95/5 ground beef contains half the calories of 80/20, not just 15 percent less.

2) Learn a few cooking skills

  • Section summary: Developing a few cooking techniques is a sneaky yet powerful way to maintain a healthy weight.

Fieri believes schools should be teaching kids how to cook healthy meals. He said:

I wish that we taught cooking immediately. If we just (taught) simple things like cooking a chicken breast well, we would be lightyears ahead of where we are now (health-wise).

Research suggests he's right. A study in the journal Nutrients found that people with low cooking skills were more likely to be overweight or obese. The science suggests that teaching people to cook might help them maintain or lose weight through greater calorie control.

Another team of researchers discovered "Cooking more frequently, cooking with greater skills, and practicing meal planning behaviors are associated with greater fruit and vegetable intake and lower BMI."

The likely reason: If you cook yourself, you can control portions and the amount of extra fat added to your food (restaurants love to add butter and oil to everything).

You'll also be eating fewer ultraprocessed foods, which, on average, contain more calories per bite than home-cooked versions.

“How can something that’s so good for you taste so great?” Fieri said as we sampled lunch. “The bit of cinnamon in that Bolognese … that takes this to the next level.” (Michael's note: the food was incredible.)

Bookstores hold walls of books that can teach you the mechanics of cooking. Like this one. YouTube is also a wonderful free resource. America's Test Kitchen has a great channel.

3) Follow the pizza rule

  • Section summary: Save your unhealthy eating for the really good stuff.

Fieri makes a living highlighting and eating the most delicious food in America—meals most wouldn't classify as "health food." Yet he still managed to get his weight in check.

Finding a sustainable diet isn't about swearing off unhealthy food forever. Hard and fast rules often lead to disinhibition.

Fieri still eats "unhealthy" food, but only when it's really good.

“I’ll use pizza as an example,” Fieri told me. “Pizza is one of those things when it’s good, it’s really good. And when it’s bad, people still eat it. I’m now more inclined to not eat something that’s not that great than to eat it.”

And when he does encounter great food, “I don’t eat as much of it.”

Example: Just two days before my visit, Fieri went to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The food, he says, was standard stadium fare. Not bad. Not excellent. “So—and I’d probably get booed out of the stadium for admitting this—I only ate carrots and celery.”

4) Put rails on your eating

  • Section summary: Fasting gave Fieri a simple way to control his calorie intake.

Fieri doesn't eat until noon and stops after dinner. He told me it was a key method that helped him lose weight.

Fasting is one of those simple health rules that often works, but not as we think. (We recently covered five other simple health rules that work, but not why we believe in this post.)

Research suggests that all weight loss “works” through eating fewer calories than you burn. But while most diets constrict what you eat, fasting constricts when you eat.

It’s not magic for weight loss. But if you shorten the amount of time that you consume calories, you increase the likelihood you’ll eat fewer than you burn. And then you might lose some weight—while eating the foods you want.

The catch, of course, is that if you eat too many calories during your “feeding window,” you won’t lose any weight. You could even gain it.

5) Exercise with purpose for a purpose

  • Section summary: Training for a fitness event can help you exercise more.

After Fieri and I ate lunch, we went for a ruck in the hills on his ranch.

"I really started getting into hunting in the last 10 years," Fieri told me. But he found that his fitness was limiting his ability to hunt well. He wanted to be able to hunt with his two sons for years to come.

Rucking three times a week has helped him improve his fitness and maintain muscle as he's lost weight. More importantly, it makes him a stronger, better hunter.

Exercise for the sake of it works. But exercising for a purpose increases the likelihood.

You may not hunt, but signing up for an organized race, fitness competition, or team sport can help guide your workouts—and help you stick to them.

The looming event is like a rock in your shoe, compelling you to get out and exercise. Exercise in and of itself is sometimes not a big enough rock in your shoe to force a workout.

The upside: You'll never regret a workout.

6) Find others to do your toughest workouts with

  • Section summary: Exercising with others improves adherence. It's especially powerful for the type of exercise you want to do the least.

Everyone has those exercises or that type of exercise they know they should do but don't because they dislike it. For Fieri, it's weight training and high-intensity workouts.

So he asked himself, what would make this suck less? The answer: people.

He rallied a crew. He has a trainer come work with him, his family, and colleagues twice a week. Exercising with others has been shown to increase adherence.

  • It makes you accountable.
  • It gives you social support.
  • It adds competition, which motivates some people.
  • It gives you guidance and structure.
  • It makes exercise more fun.

I've always believed CrossFit's "secret sauce" wasn't necessarily the tough workouts. It was the fact that groups of people all did tough workouts together.

Researchers at Harvard even theorized that group exercise like CrossFit is replacing the social benefits many people used to get from organized church.

Have fun, don't die, eat good pizza.

-Michael

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